ISLAMABAD           -          The unique hiking tracks of the picturesque Margallas in the federal capital offer a great fitness facility to young, elders, men and women equally. Scenic natural beauty of the areas serves as a major attraction for hikers.

The tracks are not pulling people from Islamabad only but even from Rawalpindi and other adjoining areas. According to the hikers, the tracks provide them fitness as well as a chance to enjoy nature and beauty of the mountain life.

Among the tracks, trail-III remains at top. On visit to trail-III, this correspondent discovered that the specific trail greets hundreds of hikers daily. What appears both impressive and convincing for others to follow is that the regular hikers of the trail include many around 70-year-old. The young ones and those in their 50s were in majority though.

On weekends, the number of hikers coming to enjoy the mountains crosses over a thousand leaving the tracks crowded and even more exciting.

There were around 40 cars parked already in parking area when this correspondent visited the track.

Therefore, availing the chance to talk to the hikers themselves, this correspondent had a little chat with few of the hikers spotted there.

Ehtisham, a resident of Margalla Town is one of the regular hikers. At the age of 56, Ehtisham daily comes to hike and exercise. He also gets a chance to enjoy the fresh air of the mountains.

Ehtisham brings his friends or family along. Talking to this correspondent, he briefed that the hiking activity and this trail was a blessing for the residents of Islamabad.

He said that the mountain track was not only beautiful offering a glimpse of wildlife, but also very safe and secured.

Asim Saeed, a member of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board who supervises the track told this correspondent that this trail receives over 100 hikers on daily basis.

In addition, he stated that the number could reach over 150 if the weather is favourable or pleasant.

Asim further briefed that by the end of the week, mostly on Saturdays, the total number of hikers could even cross 300-400.

When this correspondent questioned the member about the number of regular hikers coming to the trail, Asim revealed that around 60 to 70 hikers were the regular faces which he sees daily. He further explained that out of those coming regularly for hike, the majority was taken up by the people aged over 50 years.

Elaborating about the hikers routine, Asim said, “there are people who hike twice a week, some may hike thrice while many may hike once a week or when they get the chance during the month.”

When asked about the record of the hikers, Asim showed the list with entries of the hikers and the time they visited for the last couple of days.

According to the list, last Saturday received a total number of 1,098 hikers which was the highest among the record shown to this correspondent. On second was Sunday when around 700 hikers came to the trail. Whereas, the week days of Thursday and Friday received around 100 to 150 hikers.

On weekends, the number of hikers is higher owing to the trips arranged by schools, colleges and universities, said Asim.  

Rasheem Ahmad, a retired government official and hiker who visits twice or thrice a week told this correspondent that hiking was a great fun for him. According to him, this specific activity was keeping him healthy and fit despite of his old age. Rasheed elaborated that he comes from Tramri-Chowk to hike these beautiful mountains.

To get more detail, The Nation also visited the trail near Islamabad Zoo.

In comparison, the management their briefed that amount of people coming to this track was not much but very few. They also explained that the hikers loved trail-III the most which also remained crowded and welcoming throughout the year.

Talking to one of the shopkeepers at the opening of the track near the zoo, Tabasum told this correspondent that people here were mostly visiting the zoo and the park. “It is very rare that a hiker comes here to hike, normally they (hikers) love to go to trail-III,” said Tabasum.

When asked if this track was also receiving the majority of elderly people, Tabasum nodded with a smile and said that only elderly people who are usually more cautious about their health are coming to hike this track. He further explained that four out of five hikers are aged people.